Barack Obama

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Frontrunning: February 25





  • Turkish PM says tapes of talk with son a fabrication (Reuters) but opposition confirms authenticity, and national TV carriers cut parliament when played live
  • Inside the Showdown Atop Pimco, the World's Biggest Bond Firm (WSJ)
  • Ex-Jefferies Trader’s Customers Say Lies Common Tactic (BBG)
  • Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox disappears in blow to virtual currency (Reuters)
  • The messenger mania is spreading: SoftBank Said to Seek Stake in Naver’s Line Messaging Unit (BBG)
  • Ukraine Replaces Central Bank Head (BBG)
  • Yup, an actual headline: Harsh weather tests optimism over U.S. economy (Reuters)
  • Hiring of Law Grads Improves for Some (BBG)
  • Easy Currency Bet Gets Harder as the Chinese Yuan Tumbles (WSJ)
  • In Ukraine turbulence, a lad from Lviv becomes the toast of Kiev (Reuters)
 
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10 Stories From The Cold, Hard Streets Of America That Will Break Your Heart





If the economy is really "getting better", then why have millions upon millions of formerly middle class Americans been pushed to the point of utter despair?  The stories that you are about to read are absolutely heartbreaking. But if you listen to the mainstream media, you would think that happy days are here again for America.  Just check out some of the bizarre headlines that I have collected in recent weeks... CNBC: "Stop whining! The US economy is in good shape" USA Today: "Economists: U.S. will see better growth in '14" Newsday: "Why the economy isn't doomed" Most Americans will buy into this propaganda and will never see the next major economic crisis coming until it is too late to do anything about it.

 
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NSA's Spying Program Set To Become Even Bigger





In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations about the NSA's ubiquitous presence in everyday lives, and unconstitutional interception, eavesdropping and recording of every form of electronic communication, the logical assumption would be that the next step for the NSA would be its reduction instead of expansion, especially following the president's heartfelt reading from the TOTUS several months ago in which he promised to do all he could, to curb the spy agency. "Surprisingly" expansion is precisely what will happen to the NSA - as WSJ reports the "government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency's controversial collection of Americans' phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials." Unintended? It is very much intended now that Americans know that the concept of privacy is dead and buried and will instead seek other methods to communicate. Which simply means the NSA has to get even bigger in order to thwart the imminent, daily and "clear and present" danger that US citizen-cum-terrorists pose to the US despotic totalitarian state republic.

 
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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Facebook CEO Raises Dealmaker Profile With $19 Billion Takeover (BBG)
  • WhatsApp’s Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire (BBG)
  • U.S. Feels Putin's Sharp Elbows in Ukraine (WSJ)
  • PBOC Drains Cash as Overnight Rate Slides to Lowest in 10 Months (BBG)
  • Fed Puts Rate Increase on the Radar (Hilsenrath)
  • Banks Flouting Bonus Rules in Denmark Set to Be Named by FSA (BBG)
  • Work Set to Resume on Upgrading Panama Canal (WSJ)
  • Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens (BBG) - uh, what recovery?
  • Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray (WSJ)
 
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GE Sues IRS For $658 Million Tax Refund





As goes GE so goes...? Not satisfied with the increasing offshoring of taxation (amid the Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich and so on), US corporations are increasingly digging elsewhere in the vain hope of finding "revenue" to keep the shareholder dream alive. While GE is not alone in this, its latest move perfectly summarizes the farce that US accounting (and tax) regulations have become (and Immelt's angelic position advising Obama on jobs and the economy). As Reuters reports, GE is suing the Internal Revenue Service for a $658 million tax refund related to a tax loss the company claimed as it exited the reinsurance market more than a decade ago.

 
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President Obama Warns Ukraine Against "Crossing The Line"





The US is adding its $0.02 to the international condemnation of the actions under way in Ukraine - desparate to re-write Victoria Nuland's narrative of "f##k the EUR" and political manipulation. President Obama, having not learned his lesson the last time he drew a red line, has come out swinging: OBAMA:`THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES IF PEOPLE STEP OVER THE LINE'; OBAMA SAYS U.S. CONDEMNS UKRAINE VIOLENCE IN `STRONGEST TERMS'; OBAMA:MILITARY SHOULDN'T ACT WHERE CIVILIANS CAN RESOLVE ISSUES. Of course, it's unclear if open military action against civilians is 'crossing the line' but we await Putin's response.

 
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Frontrunning: February 19





  • Ukraine leader denounces coup bid, West weighs sanctions (Reuters)
  • Time to buy Imodium calls: Kuroda Easing Doomed as Yen Seen Missing 120 Level (BBG)
  • Teens Disappear From U.S. Workforce (BBG)
  • Fed Sets Rules for Foreign Banks (WSJ)
  • Quant Funds Feel Investor Bite After Underperforming (BBG)
  • China Probes Qualcomm, InterDigital Over Monopoly Concerns (WSJ)
  • Capital One says it can show up at cardholders' homes, workplaces  (LATimes)
  • SEC Gains Power to Take Profit Made From Insider Trading (BBG)
 
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China Demands Japanese Explanation About "That Other Plutonium"





The world has grown tired of the inexorable rise in radiation levels and propaganda-talk sourrounding nuclear issues in Japan from the government in the last few years since Fukushima changed the nation's future. However, there is another source of nuclear materials that is increasingly angering the Chinese. The tensions and rhetoric, from WWI analogs to Nazi comparisons, have risen recently; but this time, the Chinese are asking a legitimate question... "If a country claims that it sticks by the three non-nuclear principles but at same time hoards far more nuclear materials than it needs, including a massive amount of weapon-grade plutonium, the world has good reason to ask why.... After all, Abe and his cabinet have already caused too much trouble to regional peace and stability." Of course, this places "ally" President Obama in an awkward position given his anti-proliferation stance... though we suspect he will have an angle: "if you like your plutonium stockpile, you can keep it."

 
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Americans Are Angrier & More Frustrated Than Ever: 19 Furious Facts





Have you noticed that people are becoming angrier?  You can see it everywhere – in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our television shows, in our movies, and certainly in Washington.  In fact, many have said that there is an “epidemic” of anger in America today.  And it is undeniably true.  As you will see below, a whole host of surveys and opinion polls show that America has become a seething cauldron of anger and frustration unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The very fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear.  What is America going to look like if we continue to go even farther down this road?

 
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71% Of Obama Voters "Regret" His Re-Election





Over 7 in 10 Obama voters, and 55% of Democrats, regret voting for President Obama's reelection in 2012, according to a new Economist/YouGov.com poll. As The Washington Examiner reports, the poll was conducted to test the media hype about a comeback by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. While the poll found voters still uninspired by Romney, they are also deeply dissatisfied with Obama (though given the choice of Obama versus Romney, Obama supporters said they would stick with their guy, 79% to 10% for Romney) giving Obama, as The Examiner notes, very early lame duck status before the midterm elections.

 
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15 Reasons Why Your Food Prices Are About To Start Soaring





Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices soar as incomes stand still", but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be "disaster areas", and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions. 

Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do). 

 
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Of Course China Wants To Replace The U.S.





"As proud citizens of the ‘Middle Kingdom’ the Chinese feel a strong sense of chosenness and are extremely proud of their ancient and modern achievements. This pride is tempered, however, by the lasting trauma seared into the national conscious as a result of the country’s humiliating experiences at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialism. After suffering a humiliating decline in national strength and status, the Chinese people are unwavering in their commitment to return China to its natural state of glory, thereby achieving the Chinese Dream."

 
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"The Vampire Squid Strikes Again"- Matt Taibbi Takes On Blythe Masters And The Banker Commodity Cartel





The story of how JPMorgan, Goldman and the rest of the Too Big To Fails and Prosecutes, cornered, monopolized and became a full-blown cartel - with the Fed's explicit blessing - in the physical commodity market is nothing new to regular readers: to those new to this story, we suggest reading of our story from June 2011 (over two and a half years ago),  "Goldman, JP Morgan Have Now Become A Commodity Cartel As They Slowly Recreate De Beers' Diamond Monopoly." That, or Matt Taibbi's latest article written in his usual florid and accessible style, in which he explains how the "Vampire Squid strikes again" courtesy of the "loophole that destroyed the world" to wit: "it would take half a generation – till now, basically – to understand the most explosive part of the bill, which additionally legalized new forms of monopoly, allowing banks to merge with heavy industry. A tiny provision in the bill also permitted commercial banks to delve into any activity that is "complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally." Complementary to a financial activity. What the hell did that mean?... Fifteen years later, in fact, it now looks like Wall Street and its lawyers took the term to be a synonym for ruthless campaigns of world domination."

 
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Spot The Average Federal Employee Salary





On the chart below, try to guess, without peeking, which is the average salary of a Federal worker in the US and which is the average per capita income for all Americans.

 
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"Historic", "Catastrophic" Winter Storm Paralyzes Atlanta As Pax Creeps Up East Coast





Here comes the latest one - Pax. Weather.com's description of what is about to be unleashed on Atlanta and the entire Eastern Seaboard is nothing short of a review of the movie The Day After Tomorrow: "Potentially "catastrophic" Winter Storm Pax began unfolding before dawn Wednesday in the Atlanta area as temperatures dropped below freezing and sleet and freezing rain began to fall." The National Weather Service's warning was not exactly cheery: "Let’s just start by saying this winter storm may be of historic proportions for the area,” the agency said in a forecast analysis. “We’re looking at significant snowfall totals north and significant, crippling ice totals, especially along the Interstate 20 corridor.” Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said forecasters use words such as "catastrophic" sparingly. Not in this case. "Sometimes we want to tell them, 'Hey, listen, this warning is different. This is really extremely dangerous, and it doesn't happen very often,'" Jacks said. The service's memo early Wednesday called the storm "an event of historical proportions." It continues: "Catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective."

 
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